I am not a runner but I can appreciate the ING Hartford Marathon for its positive impact on Hartford. I have a few friends running in it and have been surprised to see friends from farther away in my Facebook feed make their way to Hartford for the event. People that run have a kinship with each other that I have seen in cycling and other activities that foster a sense of community. With the absence of Whalers Hockey, I think that this event is the one that puts Hartford on the map.
The other day I was at a coffee for a candidate for Board of Education and the candidate managed to win over a Republican over their shared background in hockey. About a month ago I was cycling down a street in my town when my tire blew. To my luck the house I stopped in front of was home to a cyclist who helped me fix my flat, and then when the new tube blew up he lent me a wheel. For cyclists this a leap of faith because wheels are one of the most expesnive components of the bicycle. In Democratic politics I’ve regularly seen people open their homes to campaign workers and volunteers just because they are Democrats.
Of course the most important feature of all these communities is that they are welcoming. There are many kinds of cyclists and I do not really care if someone is riding a brand new carbon fiber Trek Madone or a steel fixed gear bicycle from the 1950s.1 Runners come in all shapes and sizes and finish the marathon. People enter politics or become entreprenuers to tackle a wide variety of problems. When more experienced people in the community are willing to help the newbies, everyone wins. It’s what turns it from a simple hobby into a community.
This is not meant to confuse people who ride bicycles with cyclists. Plenty of people ride a bicycle for transportation without interest in it, much in the way people might vote without being into politics or use an iPhone without being a technology geek. ↩